Marquette Track & Field Season Preview: Sprints/Jumps

Jan. 13, 2011

The Marquette University men's and women's track and field squads got a good glimpse of their future Dec. 3 at Notre Dame's Blue and Gold Invitational as the sprinters and jumpers got off to a fast start to begin the season.

Junior Lauren Darnall shattered the school record in the pole vault, while MU also got impressive performances from freshman Carlye Schuh and Michael Saindon. Schuh appears as if she will be able to help the Golden Eagles in multiple events after setting the school record in the long jump, while Saindon could also prove to be a very versatile jumper.

Add to that rising sophmores Cheldon Brown, Chanel Franklin and Kyle Winter, along with upperclassmen Tyler O'Brien, Alyssa Davis and Alyssa Stevens and the Golden Eagles could be in for some great performances in 2011.

Marquette Men's Sprinters/Jumpers

Tyler O'Brien returns for his fourth year in the program, but will redshirt the indoor season as he gets ready for another shot at the West Preliminary Round of the NCAA Championships.

"Tyler had a great fall of training and is looking really good right now, so I expect some big things out of him during the outdoor season," Rogers said. "He has taken on a leadership role and a lot of the younger kids look up to him."

O'Brien competed at the NCAA regional in 2008 after placing fourth at the BIG EAST Outdoor Championship in the 200-meter dash. Although he took a redshirt during the 2010 outdoor season, he is the school record holder in the indoor and outdoor 200-meter dashes, as well as the indoor 60 and 300.

"Tyler's goal during the outdoor season is to place high in the BIG EAST and I think he can be a contender for that 200 title. Thats our goal," Rogers said. "We also want to make the first round of the NCAAs and if we meet our goals at the BIG EAST meet, that is kind of a foregone conclusion. We have found the right combination of training for him and I am looking forward to seeing what he can do."

With O'Brien being the main upperclassman in the shorter sprints, he will be joined by a few freshman who will will play important roles as the season progresses. Connor Stengel from Sheboygan, Wis., was the 2010 Wisconsin 400-meter state champion (48.24 seconds) and finished fourth in the 200. Stengel will be joined by Naperville, Ill., native Aryan Avant, who helped his 4x400-meter relay team at Nequa Valley High School to state championships in 2009 and 2010.

"If you looking at the 400 group, they are pretty young. Connor Stengel and Aryan Avant are very talented and we can see through workouts that they have a lot to learn, but each day of practice they are picking something up. They are going to make a big impact as we move forward," Rogers said.

Another addition to the roster in a spot that has been vacant over the last few years is freshman Marcell KirkmanBey as a hurdler.

"Marcell is a really big, strong guy, about 6-foot-4 and probably 200 pounds. We are working with him to use that strength a little more efficiently because he is still pretty raw, although talented."

Walk-on Dan Nierzwicki made it through tryouts this fall and will also contribute in the hurdles.

In the longer sprints, sophomore Kyle Winter enjoyed a break-out freshman campaign in 2010, setting the freshman record and the second-fastest time in school history in the indoor 500 meters. Winter narrowly missed qualifying for the BIG EAST Outdoor Championships in the 800 and will be joined this season by runners from whom Rogers believes he will see great strides.

"Kyle Winter had a terrific freshman season, a great fall of training and is so much stronger than he was last year," Rogers said. "We are also going to see bigger things from Ben Schmitz who just missed the BIG EAST-qualifying mark in the 1,000 at Notre Dame in December. Mike McCarthy has been steady and I expect the same out of him as a relay leg. A guy that might pop up and make a name for himself is Brett Schueber after some injury problems."

Sophomore Cheldon Brown came to Marquette with a personal-best mark of 6-feet, 10 inches in the high jump and had a solid freshman campaign, finishing with a top mark of 6-foot-7 while he worked on changing his approach to the event.

"Last year with Cheldon we worked on breaking some of his bad habits and fixing some technical things because he is definitely athletically gifted," Rogers said. "We are working on proper technique and I think that is starting to come around."

Brown will be joined the the high jump by freshman Michael Saindon who jumped 6-7 at the Notre Dame Blue and Gold Invitational in early December. Saindon finished second in the event and notched the No. 6 mark in school history, while also placing ninth in the long jump in his first collegiate meet.

"Michael is a quick, bouncy guy and has had some good workouts," said Rogers. "He is not real tall, but he is quick and has some good hops. I am looking for a nice 1-2 punch out of Michael and Cheldon."

A pair of freshman in Jerrick Backous and Nick Benn in the pole vault will round out the the Marquette men's sprinters and jumpers.

Men's Sprints/Jumps Primary Focus Year
Aryan Avant 60-400 (Relays) Freshman

Jerrick Backous

Pole Vault Freshman
Nick Benn

Pole Vault

Cheldon Brown High Jump Sophomore
T.J. Hodgson

High Jump

Marcell KirkmanBey 60-400 (Hurdles/Relays) Freshman
James Muehleman Long Jump/Triple Jump Junior
Dan Nierzwicki 60-400 (Hurdles/Relays) Freshman
Tyler O'Brien 60-400 (Relays) Junior
Michael Saindon High Jump Freshman
Brett Scheuber 400-1,000 (Relays) Sophomore
Ben Schmitz 400-1,000 (Relays) Sophomore
Connor Stengel 200-800 (Relays) Freshman
Kyle Winter 400-1,000 (Relays) Sophomore

Marquette Women's Sprinters/Jumpers

Aside from Winter, the most impressive freshman season in 2010 may have been turned in by Milwaukee-native Chanel Franklin in the short sprints. The former Rufus King High School star vaulted into the school's top 10 in the 60- and 200-meter dashes in her first meet. Franklin also set the freshman record in the outdoor 100 meters (11.92 seconds, No. 3 all-time) and is fourth in MU history in the outdoor 200.

"Chanel is light-years ahead of where she was last year," Rogers said. "Fall training was tough on her as a freshman, but she came in raring to go, put in a good fall and I expect big things from her. I think she is going to continue to build upon a great freshman year as you can see that bounce in her step."

Although Franklin is only a sophomore, her leadership could prove vital in an event group that includes freshmen Cashay Harris and Carlye Schuh. Harris is another Milwaukee Publc Schools product (Custer H.S.), while Schuh is a native of Appleton, Wis.

Schuh put in a very impressive performance at the Blue and Gold Invitational on Dec. 3 by setting a freshman record and BIG EAST-qualfiying mark of 18 feet, 6 inches in the long jump and recorded a third-place finish in the 200 meters. Schuh's marks were the fifth and ninth-best marks, respectively, in school history.

Junior Stephanie Grant and senior Alyssa Stevens will lead MU in the longer sprints, with Stevens also competing in the hurdles. Grant ranks in the top 10 at MU in four individual indoor sprinting events and is fourth all-time in the outdoor 400 meters.

"Stephanie made it through her first fall without a major injury and competed in a December meet this year for the first time in her career. She and Jenny Zahn were here training early over winter break, are looking strong and are doing a very nice job of pushing that longer sprint group along," Rogers said.

A group of talented freshman along with Christine Hansen and Melissa Burghardt will join the longer sprinters this season and Rogers believes that a potent 4x400-meter relay can be formed as the season progresses.

Sophomore Sarah MacCourtney joins the Golden Eagles for her first indoor season after walking onto the squad in the middle of last year and should be an eventual BIG EAST point scorer. MacCourtney will look to help lessen the loss of school record holder and two-time NCAA Regional participant Erynn James in the event. Schuh will also compete in the high jump at some point in the season after an impressive tryout during December.

"Sarah MacCourtney is a talent and should be jumping pretty well and getting into that 5-7 range," Rogers said. "Carlye Schuh is a superb athlete, so we had her give the high jump a shot and she jumped 5-5 in training shoes. Coach Davis is having her work with the high jumpers and getting a feel for the technique. We will definitely see her throughout the season in the high, long and triple jumps as well as the sprints and relays. She can do it all."

Alyssa Davis is the primary triple jumper for the Golden Eagles and returns for her senior year as the No. 3 jumper all-time at MU in both the indoor and outdoor triple jump.

The squad will make up for the loss of Carrie Schmid in the pole vault with the continued development of junior Lauren Darnall.

Darnall started to show flashes at the end of the 2010 outdoor season and picked up right were she left off by shattering the school record on Dec. 3 at Notre Dame. The Hanover, N.H., native reached a height of 12-8.75 in the first meet of the season to top her personal best by over 1 1/2 feet. Schmid's previous school record was 12-1.5.

Women's Sprints/Jumps Primary Focus Year
Abby Croft Pole Vault Freshman

Lauren Darnall

Pole Vault Junior
Alyssa Davis

Long/Triple Jump

Chanel Franklin 60-400 (Relays) Sophomore
Stephanie Grant

200-400 (Relays)

Cheyenne Gray 60-400 (Relays) Freshman
Marisa Handley High Jump Senior
Christine Hansen 400-800 (Hurdles/Relays) Sophomore
Cashay Harris 60-200 (Relays) Freshman
Kate Hein 200-800 (Relays) Freshman
Gretchen Homan 200-500 (Relays) Freshman
Katie Kemmerer 200-400 (Relays) Freshman
Gabriella Lock 400-800 (Relays) Freshman
Sarah MacCourtney High Jump Sophomore
Jessica Person 200-400 (Relays) Sophomore
Carlye Schuh 200-400, Long/High Jump Freshman
Alyssa Stevens 400-1,000 (Relays/Hurdles) Senior
Jenny Zahn 200-500 (Hurdles) Junior




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